From today, Dudley Council will change visiting arrangements in care homes following a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.
In the last week, the number of cases in the borough has doubled and, although they remain lower than neighbouring authorities, the council has taken a decision to restrict visiting to care homes from Monday.
People will only be allowed to visit their friend or loved one under exceptional circumstances - for example if the person they are visiting is at the end of their life. A risk assessment would be carried out beforehand.
This follows the government’s announcement earlier in the week to introduce new restrictions in England that limits gatherings to six people both indoors and outdoors with some exemptions. Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
“We know how important it is for residents to see their friends and loved ones but we have to look at the bigger picture and ensure we are taking steps at the right time to best protect the health of not only the residents but the staff and friends and loved ones.
“We cannot compromise when there may be a risk to the health and well-being of residents.
“We always said we would keep visiting arrangements to care homes under review and as we have seen a steady increase in cases over the last few weeks, we are now at the point unfortunately where we need to take action.
“We will continue to work closely with care homes across the borough to support them through this process and I would appeal to anyone planning to visit a care home before the rules change to only visit if they really need to and if they are showing no symptoms of coronavirus.
“At the moment we can’t say how long these changes will be brought in for, but we do commit to keeping them under constant review.”
In the fight against coronavirus, residents are urged to continue to stay at home as much as possible, limit contact with other people and work from home if they can.
When out and about residents should:
- keep their distance from others and avoid crowds. Stay two metres away from others, where they can
- wear a face covering when on public transport, shopping or in enclosed public spaces to reduce the spread of the virus
- wash their hands regularly throughout the day
Symptoms include a high temperature, new and continuous cough or a loss or change to smell and taste. Anyone with symptoms must get tested and stay at home for ten days from the first day they had symptoms. Book a test online at nhs.uk or call 119.
If people are contacted by Test and Trace, they are urged to share as much information as possible. The data is only used to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If a member of a household thinks they may have the virus, not only is it important they get tested, but they need to follow government guidance on what to do to stop the infection spreading to other family members.
For the latest information on help and support from Dudley Council, residents can go to dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus.